The attention of the international news media is focused on what the United States will do to prevent the Assad regime from using abhorrent chemical weapons again. The US Senate has given the go signal to President Obama. The alleged war crime and crimes against humanity that Assad and his followers are accused of committing by using poison gas to kill as many as 1,429 people, four hundred of them children, are shocking and must be condemned.
The evidence that has been presented so far by the Western governments, while still waiting for the report from the UN inspectors, gives a very strong case that the Assad government did indeed commit a heinous war crime against its own people, most of them civilians, women and children. We have to speak out and denounce such evil act if indeed true as it appears to be so.
The use of poison gas has been internationally outlawed since the First World War as a weapon of mass destruction, the evidence so far indicates that sarin, a deadly gas that brings an agonizing and painful death to its victims was used in the attack. There have been other reported incidents of smaller attacks with video evidence of dying and dead people and flocks of birds downed in rebel held areas due to a suspected gas attack.
According to the Wikipedia on-line encyclopedia it says: "Syria is one of five states that have not signed and one of seven that have not ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits the development, production, stockpiling, transfer, and use of chemical weapons. However, in 1968, Syria acceded to the 1925 Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases. In the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Syria denied that it had chemical weapons, but admitted it possessed such weapons in 2012. The Syrian President had earlier alluded to a chemical weapon capability in public statements, in 1990 and 1997".
In desperation and fear of a possible defeat and subsequent wipe out of his family and his tribe, Assad and his military are apparently resorting to chemical warfare. This is a horrendous crime and can cause terrible deaths among civilians. If the wind suddenly changes then it can be carried into the center of Damascus and kill many more including diplomats and the many Filipinos there who refuse to leave their well-paying jobs.
The British parliament has voted against any military strike to degrade the capability of Assad to use these terrible weapons. The French President is waiting to support the decision of the United States when the US congress finally decides whether to authorize a strike or not.
President Obama was caught between a rock and a hard place. He has implacable enemies among the fanatical members of the Republican Party who have blocked his many positive initiatives in other areas in the past.
If he ordered a limited strike against Syria he would be lambasted with criticism from his Republican Congressional enemies. When he did not strike they were already questioning his leadership ability and practically calling him a do-nothing President and would blame him if the Assad regime was to commit more war crimes.
Besides, if Obama had ordered a strike, the Assad regime would possibly retaliate by striking back against Israel with chemical weapons. Obama would be blamed for that too. The Israeli government has distributed thousands of gas masks to a panicky nation just in case. In a politically smart move, he wisely deferred to the US congress to make the decision.
The ball is now in their court. If they don’t approve a strike they can be accused of ignoring a horrendous war crime and giving encouragement to the enemy of the Syrian people allowing them to be gassed to death for their opposition to his oppressive regime. It will be seen as if the US Congress is condoning a modern day Nazi death chamber.
This is anathema to the Jewish race; millions of them were gassed to death under the Nazi genocide of WWII. They have enough gas chambers, one Scud missile into their territory and all hell will break loose. Israel could well strike against the palace and person of Assad and his mother who is the power behind the Assad throne. May all out war never happen.
There has to be a choice as to which is the greatest good, to strike or not to strike. And a choice as to which is the greatest evil, to allow Assad to tyrannically gas thousands more of his people or try to prevent it by destroying his delivery vehicles such as the scud and other missiles and their command and control centers. We are morally bound to choose the lesser evil in such situations. That is the choice facing the US Congress.
Spero columnist Shay Cullen is a founder of PREDA.org - a nonprofit dedicated to assisting the children of The Philippines.